Victim’s mother gives evidence

THE MOTHER of a former pupil at a Suffolk school who has claimed he was sexually and physically abused by the headmaster more than 20 years ago has described her shock at only recently learning about the allegations.

The woman told a jury at Ipswich Crown Court that while her son was a boarder at St George’s School in Great Finborough, near Stowmarket in the 1980’s he had not mentioned the abuse he had allegedly suffered from the headmaster Derek Slade.

She said she had been concerned when she didn’t receive any letters from her ten-year-old son and had spoken to Slade on the telephone about it.

However, he had told her that her son was settling in and there was nothing unusual about him not writing to her. When he came home for his first holiday she noticed he was quieter than normal but he had made no complaint about the way he was treated.

She said it was only in the last few years that he had told her about the alleged abuse and had given her notes he had made about it to read.

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“I started to read it. There was a lot of cruelty and I couldn’t read it any more,” she said.

She said her son had described being beaten with a cane and slippers and alleged that on one occasion a beating had been so severe that he had been sent to the sick bay.

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She said that before going to St George’s he had been a loving son but after being at the school he had started being disobedient and going out in the middle of the night and refusing to eat meals with the rest of the family. ”For a long time we didn’t know what we’d done wrong. We thought we must have done something wrong because he changed so much,” she said.

“More recently we’ve started to understand him and how he felt about us because he thought we’d put him there because we didn’t want him,” she said.

Slade, 61, of Burton-on-Trent, has denied six charges of assault causing actual bodily harm, five charges of indecent assault on a male and four offences of buggery. He has admitted 15 offences of indecent assault on a male and four offence of assault causing actual bodily harm.

It has been alleged that Slade beat and sexually assaulted boys in his care between 1978 and 1983. The court has heard that 13 of Slade’s former pupils had come forward since the police investigation began.

The trial continues today (Thurs).

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